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Contractors and access

Portsmouth International Port operates a robust permit to work system, designed to exercise maximum control over work undertaken by third party contractors within the port boundaries. The system allows a contractor to be fully aware of the inherent dangers of working in the port and provides useful contact and emergency information.

Contractors invited to carry out work at the port also need to watch the safety and security video below, along with reading the safety information that follows, before completing the contractor access form.

Please complete this a minimum of 48 hours before your visit.


Vehicle movements
These are examples of vehicle movements within the Port, which may affect your access or work:

  • Trailers – dropping off and collecting or just being moved.
  • British and foreign drivers unaccustomed to the Port.
  • Border Agencies and VOSA activities, possibly causing tailbacks.
  • Shuttle buses operating both inside and outside the restricted area.

Maintenance activities
Contractors and Port staff may be engaged in works involving:

  • Mobile platforms (slow moving or static).
  • Mobile cranes (slow moving or static).
  • Fixed lifting equipment.
  • Plant and hand tools.

Cars, vans and caravans

  • Be careful with this group. They’re on holiday and winding down. They are not paying attention to anything except getting on a ship or going home.
  • Passengers are likely to leave their vehicles when parked to view the sights, use the facilities, stick on headlight detectors – some even set up camp and make tea!
  • Others believe that as they are not on a public highway that normal driving procedures do not apply, i.e. do not use mobile phones when driving, do not eat your lunch whilst driving, do not drink and drive etc.

Yes – you’ve got it – they do apply – and to all of us.
You, me and them!

Pedestrians in traffic areas
The groups shown below represent a HIGH RISK FACTOR for traffic moving within the Port.

  • Lorry drivers
  • Port security personnel
  • Traffic marshals
  • Other contractors
  • Port operators
  • General public
  • Statutory bodies – police, customs, immigration
  • Port staff
  • Ships’ crews

Driving in the Port

  • The maximum speed limit is 20 MPH.
  • Where possible use the service routes (see Permit to Work map).
  • When driving within the restricted area use your vehicle’s flashing hazard lights.
  • Use dipped headlights and hazard lights at night or when it’s raining.
  • The walkways throughout the Port are marked the same as a zebra crossing, take care – not all have Belisha beacons.
  • Be alert and ready for the unexpected and GIVE WAY!

Working close to the quay edge should be treated as high risk when completing risk assessments.

  • Some unprotected quay edges allow direct access to the sea.
  • Tidal levels vary depending on your work location within the Port and can present heights in excess of 7m at low water.
  • When working in the Port’s service ducting system be aware that some will flood when the tide is high.

Ships’ Berthing Operations
When you are working on or near quay edges which are close to shipping movements you should be aware of the following:

  • Mooring operations – involving heaving lines being thrown from the vessels onto public areas.
  • Port staff making fast or slipping ships’ mooring lines.
  • Shipping movements – causing water disturbance.
  • Ships’ crews – performing maintenance operations.

Consult with the Duty Port Operations Manager who will provide details of all shipping movements etc.


Contractors Pass

  • A contractors pass is issued only when the work duration is greater than one working day. It will bear photographic ID of the individual contractor and will also have an expiry date printed on it.
  • When the pass has expired it must be handed back to the Port, either for renewal or because it’s the end of the contract.

Visitors Pass

  • A Day Pass is issued to contractors when work will be completed within a working day.
  • It must be handed back at the point of exit when leaving the Port.

Obtaining a pass
You must undertake the following:

  • View all tabs in this Port Site Induction table or view the Port Site Induction presentation in the Terminal Building, and be registered.
  • Get permission to proceed from the authorised person.
  • On attendance at the Port you must produce one valid form of identification with photographic ID before a pass will be issued.

Vehicle passes

  • Quay Pass – If you need to bring a vehicle into the restricted area of the Port to assist with works and the duration of the works is for an extended period, then you will be issued with a Quay Pass. This pass will remain valid for the duration of the project.
  • Temporary Dock Pass – If your works are of a short duration then entry of a vehicle will be controlled by the issue of a Temporary Dock Pass. This pass will allow only single access and must be returned when the vehicle leaves the Port. This means that you will have to get another one if you wish to return on the same project.


Contractors must obtain a Permit to Work before starting operations and hand it in at the end of each working day. This enables the port to monitor those contractors on or off site.


All contractors must comply with the following when working within the areas under the control of the Port Authority:

  • Prior to commencing work contact either an authorising officer, a nominated Port contact person or the Duty Port Operations Manager.
  • Persons caught in possession or under the influence of drugs or alcohol will be removed from site.
  • Contractors are expected to conform with the requirements of the Construction (Design & Management) Regulations 2015, as well as all other relevant regulations applicable to the work being undertaken.
  • Contractors entering and working within the restricted area are subject to the International Ship & Port Facilities Security Code (ISPS), which may result in searching of persons and / or vehicles.
  • In the event of an accident or near miss the Port authorising officer or Duty Port Operations Manager should be informed as soon as possible.


If you hear the fire alarm leave the building by the nearest exit and go to the appropriate Muster Point. This is indicated on the map supplied with the Permit to Work and is also defined on the Fire Action notices displayed within the building.

If you accidentally start a fire dial 023 9285 5900 to raise the alarm. Attack the fire with the appliances provided, only if confident to do so.

Other Incidents
In the event of an incident a member of Port staff will issue directions for you to follow. You must obey these instructions for your own safety. If there is more than one operative in your group then please stay together in order that you can be accounted for.

Please note – Where possible please make your work area safe before relocating so that you do not create a hazard for others.

Now you have watched the video and read the safety information, please complete the contractor access form, which will open in a new window.

Launch contractor access form

Once the form has been completed, contractors need to forward a risk assessment and method statement to the port prior to their arrival, along with a copy of public liability insurance, to Failure to do so will result in delays and possible refusal of entry into the port.